Princess Anne: 7 things you may not know about the Princess Royal

The Queen’s daughter is known for her quick wit and dry humour

Sabrina Barr
Wednesday 08 September 2021 15:10
Anne’s 70th birthday marked with three official photographs

Since appearing as a character in the latest season of The Crown , Princess Anne has piqued the public interest.

Erin Doherty’s performance as the young Princess Royal stood out among the cast of the Netflix series, with her character possessing the royal’s signature sharp tongue and wearing the quintessential fashion styles of the 1960s.

It was recently revealed that Princess Anne has watched parts of The Crown, although she playfully mocked the fact it took stylists around two hours to do the hair of the actor who played her.

Although the royal family is a typically tight-lipped and genteel organisation, Princess Anne is known for her quick wit and dry humour, coming out with quips such as: “When I appear in public people expect me to neigh, grind my teeth, paw the ground and swish my tail – none of which is easy.”

The Princess Royal has had numerous remarkable experiences throughout her life. Here are seven you may not be aware of.

1. She was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize

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In 1990, when she was 39 years old, Princess Anne was nominated for a Noble Peace Prize by President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia for her work as president of the charity Save the Children.

The Princess Royal became president of the organisation 20 years prior, the first major charity that she became involved with through her work as a senior member of the royal family.

“She loves people,” Kaunda said at the time. “She has extended that love to working for helpless children in many parts of the world. That is love in action.”

2. She was convicted of a criminal offence

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In 2002, Princess Anne became the first senior member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence.

While in Windsor Great Park on 1 April that year, the royal’s three-year-old English bull terrier Dotty bit two children.

The royal pleaded guilty at East Berkshire Magistrates’ Court in Slough to a charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act and was fined £500.

During the court proceedings, dog psychologist Roger Mugford stated that the dog should not be put down.

3. She had a successful equestrian career

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Princess Anne achieved great success as an equestrian, winning the individual title at the European Eventing Championship when she was 21 years old.

In 1976, she competed in the Olympic Games in Montreal, where she rode the Queen’s horse, Goodwill, having five years previously been voted the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Her daughter, Zara Phillips, followed in her footsteps, winning a silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012, which was presented to her by her mother.

Phillips was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2006, a title won by her mother 35 years prior.

4. She survived a kidnapping attempt

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In 1974, four weeks after her wedding to her first husband Captain Mark Phillips, Princess Anne survived an armed kidnapping attempt.

As she and her new husband drove down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, their chauffer-driven Rolls Royce was blocked by another car.

Ian Ball, who was attempting to kidnap the Princess Royal, exited his vehicle while holding a handgun, shooting the royal’s chauffeur, her security officer and a nearby tabloid journalist who tried to intervene.

When Ball told Princess Anne to get out of the car, she replied: “Not bloody likely.”

The kidnap attempt eventually came to an end when a passerby punched Ball twice in the head, with all four individuals who helped to save the royal’s life awarded a medal each by the Queen.

5. She was heavily involved in the London 2012 Olympics

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Princess Anne had plenty of involvement in successfully bidding for London to host the 2012 Olympics, as director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

She is currently president of the British Olympic Association and a member of the International Olympic Committee, in addition to being a former competitor herself.

The Princess Royal “formally accepted the Olympic flame in Athens” on behalf of the English capital in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympics, the royal family’s website states.

6. She was granted the title of Princess Royal in 1987

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Princess Anne was granted the title of Princess Royal in 1987, shortly before her 37th birthday.

The title is traditionally granted by the British monarch to their eldest daughter.

It was first used in 1642, when Princess Mary, who was born in 1631, was bestowed with the title.

According to the Historical Dictionary of the British Monarchy, Princess Mary’s mother, Queen Henrietta Maria, wanted to emulate the French tradition of “according special distinction to the king’s eldest daughter”, as she was known as “Madame Royale”.

Queen Elizabeth II was never known as Princess Royal because her aunt, Princess Mary, held the title.

7. She is regarded as being one of the busiest members of the royal family

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In 2017, it was declared that Princess Anne had been the busiest member of the royal family for the year, carrying out 455 appearances at events including charity functions, dinners and receptions in the UK and 85 engagements abroad.

The Princess Royal carried out more engagements in the UK than her father, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry put together, while the Duchess of Cambridge carried out the fewest engagements, clocking 63 in the UK and 42 out of the country.

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